The Opening Pitch: Well, it could be worse for U.S. Soccer.
Yes, like coach Bob Bradley and the U.S. soccer team players themselves (and most of Sam's Army), I remain embittered about Friday's result. Did I say "result?" I meant robbery.
I have tried to rationalize it by thinking it could have been much, much worse — say, a loss. It still didn't help. Fortunately, the weekend provided a couple of "could be worse" examples:
— At least it's not Tiger, who had an unlikely U.S. Open title there for the taking — but botched it.
— At least it's not Dustin Johnson, who — to look on the bright side — didn't wait for the back nine to choke epically.
— At least it's not France, whose soccer team is in such disarray that it should be nicknamed the "Clusterfrancs."
— At least it's not the Euro combo of Italy, Germany, England, Spain and France — with one World Cup win between them and edging closer to an epic continental humiliation.
— At least it's not Cote D'Ivoire, Africa's top Cup contender, who would have been a second-round lock in any group but G, this year's "Group of Death," and now reduced to ugly (if face-saving) on-field skirmishes with Brazil.
— At least it's not the AL East, now all looking at the Yankees from behind.
Here's the thing: It's time to get over it. The worst mistake would be to compound the ref's mistake by losing focus on what's really important: Beating Algeria on Wednesday and advancing to the second round.
There: Feel better now?
World Cup Today: If Chile-Switzerland produces a winner, that team advances to the second round ... Spain isn't in a complete "win-or-else" situation, but a tie (nevermind a loss) against Honduras would be very very bad for them... Portugal needs a win against North Korea to ease potential pressure Cote D'Ivoire could apply later in the week. Click here for the full World Cup schedule and standings.
U.S. Open, Cont'd: What does it mean when Tiger (and Phil) falling short and Dustin imploding were the biggest story lines?
As for champ Graeme McDowell, it highlights just how unremarkable European players have been in U.S. majors — particularly the U.S. Open — over the past few decades. Still: The image of his father congratulating him on Father's Day was awesome.
Gaffes: Johnny Miller needs to get out more. The worst part is that you know that had to be a canned line he thought of well before he actually said it; he probably thought he was being clever.
Summer of LeBron: Well if Stephen A. is saying it then it HAS to be right on. You knew S.A.S. couldn't let the month go by without jumping on the LeBron publicity gravy train. Still 10 days to get your prediction in. I'll stick with "Knicks for three years."
NBA Draft: Coming this Thursday. John Wall to the Wiz at No. 1? Check. Evan Turner to the Sixers at No. 2? Check. Derrick Favors to the Nets at No. 3? Check. Wes Johnson to the T-wolves at No. 4? Check. But then who goes where on Thursday night? Sean Deveney has an educated guess in his latest mock draft. (Biggest intrigue remains how high — and to whom — Butler's Gordon Hayward goes.)
MLB Talking Points:
— Manny's Fenway homecoming: Swept
— Duel I: Pavano > Halladay
— Duel II: Josh Johnson > Price
— Duel III: CC > Johan
— Hiring: O's to interview Buck
College World Series: TCU sure isn't playing like an Omaha first-timer. Just ask FSU.
NFL Offseason: Jammal Brown traded to the Redskins, who are desperate for offensive line help. They drafted Oklahoma's Trent Williams for the left side and presumably will use fellow Sooner Brown, who sat out last season recovering from hip and hernia surgery, on the right side. If Brown is healthy and regains his Pro Bowl form, the ‘Skins just got a major line boost.
Camp Countdown: There are huge expectations for the Packers this season. Check out that preview, plus the entire pre-camp preview lineup.
The Last Word: RIP Manute Bol. Yes, he was more NBA oddity than All-Star, but you can't ignore his blocked-shot stats. More importantly, you can't ignore his commitment to humanitarian issues in Sudan. Condolences to his family, friends and the many he helped.
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff.
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.